When we are in school, college or even at a job (except senior management), we don't really have to decide our schedule. Most of the time it is a function of the constraints such as class timings, exam dates, submissions, projects, meetings, deliverables, deadlines etc.
Take a guess, these constraints are decided not to suit us but to increase the efficiency of the systems such as educational institutions, businesses or sub-systems such as classroom, teams, business units etc.
Now imagine being born and brought up for almost 25 years of your life in a city with electricity, hygiene, water, food, health care and then suddenly moving to forest without any prep or gear to live the life of Tarzan or Mowgli. This is what life feels like when you decide to start something on your own and you don’t have anyone to tell you what to do and nobody to support, mentor or guide you.
Let’s assume based on broad anecdotal evidence of successful entrepreneurs, sports person, actors, singers, scientists etc. that [ Results ∝ Effort ∝ Time spent ] holds true. In the early stages of a startup, hobby, project you are most likely to be on your own or max. 3 to 4 people which means that we can rule out multiplier effects of effort based synergy within a small team.
Oversimplifying it to [ Results ∝ Time spent ], and this makes it extremely important to know how, where and with whom to spend time, which brings us back to how to design our schedule.
Makers are people who build stuff. You could be a developer, artist, chef, designer, lyricist but the core idea being you create things which require creativity, imagination and long hours of uninterrupted time where you can work with 110% concentration and focus.
Managers are people who communicate, coordinate and make quick decisions. Manager tasks are more suited to shorter durations of 15 to 60 mins slots. Historically these roles have held more power but we at Sparklehood believe that the scales are tipping now. Regardless, to build a strong business both roles are equally important.
Most likely you will have to play both roles sufficiently well in early stages of your startup and it is extremely difficult to avoid it.
Depending on your rhythm try to do ‘Maker’ tasks either early in morning or late at night.
Don’t do whatever comes whenever on your plate. Try to combine similar tasks such as lead generation, customer conversations, brainstorming/planning activities, product changes, design changes etc. and put them in slots. It helps to avoid context switching costs which could easily be around 15 to 20 mins.
Over a period of time, some things you do start showing results and you get busy with the after effects of the result or some things don’t show results quick enough and you leave them. It becomes easy to lose track of what produced results in the first place, some activities are so important that they need to be done consistently e.g. activities related to your sales funnel, product changes based on real world feedback, your health and family etc. You have to block time for important activities and no matter what you have to do them in that blocked time.
Choose a core metric for the goal or outcome you want and then focus on activities which produce maximum delta. There is one problem with this approach, you are likely to miss some activities outside your awareness zone which can produce disproportionate results for the effort. You can never stop experimenting or learning.
Potential, Existing, Complaining and Churning customers to improve core product and service. Team to direct and coordinate everyone’s effort and taking care of their needs. Family and Friends to maintain your own sanity and have a support system which will never give up on you. Health to enable you to be able to do everything else.
Time is the only true finite currency that stores life till we figure out a way to preserve consciousness.